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Friday, September 28, 2007

Housing: Buy, Sell or Hold? It's Your Call Alone

Housing: Buy, Sell or Hold? It's Your Call Alone
By Diana Olick
CNBC Real Estate Reporter
27 Sep 2007 03:47 PM ET

There’s been a lot of talk in the last few days about what you should do if you’re looking to play the real estate market today.
Jim Cramer said on the "Today" Show Wednesday, “Don’t you buy now. Don’t you dare buy a home now. You will lose money.”

I don’t think it’s politically prudent for me to say what I think of those comments, especially since he has an hour show that makes lots of money, and I’m just a day-laborer with a housing beat, but suffice it to say, there are other opinions, and then there are facts.

Let’s talk about value for a moment, because that’s fundamentally what any consumer is looking for. Prices on a nationwide basis are falling, down further for new homes than existing homes, but down nonetheless. That’s on a nationwide average. Market to market there are certainly cities where prices are in the midst of a free-fall, like San Diego, Detroit, and Tampa, while others are still rising, like Portland, OR and Seattle, and still others are improving in their declines, like Boston and Chicago.

If you’re looking to buy a new home, happy days for buyers are here. Builders are offering every incentive in the book, and your dollar is going farther than ever before. Will prices continue to come down? Probably a bit, but they’re already off their highs, and base sticker price doesn’t mean much anymore. You can negotiate everything including the kitchen sink.
On existing homes, you have to look at your market. I live in a very nice section of Washington, DC, where sales really and truly slowed over the spring and summer, but are picking up this month. I think sellers have dropped prices, and now may be a great time to buy before prices start skooching back up again. Is this the case in Miami? Hell no! If you’re looking to buy an existing condo in Miami, wait a few months and you’ll get a better deal.

All I’m trying to say is don’t be a generalist. I’ve said it a hundred times, and now I’ll say it 101. All real estate is local, and while there are overreaching factors affecting everything, like the mortgage issue, some markets are responding differently than others. For sellers, overall, not a great time, but homes are selling, in fact, more than 5.5 million of them this year. And not everyone is losing money on them either. Remember, home price appreciation during the boom was positively historic, which means that even if the price comes down a bit, it may still be well above what it was five years ago (again, not everywhere, but in most places).

Am I bullish on housing? No. But the plain fact is that while people didn’t need the latest .com technology, people do need a roof over their heads. Demand is still there, it’s just in a holding pattern. Do your homework, listen to the facts reported, and you decide what’s the best course of action. Your call.

For a local accurate Tampa Housing Report use a Realtor Visit our website or email us

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Selling (or Buying) a home in today's Real Estate Market...Tampa, Fl

Beautiful Downtown Tampa Click Here to view more about the photographer

Selling or Buying a home in today's Tampa Real Estate Market............
what you need to know!

I know the Real Estate Market looks bleak right now.
Sellers are thinking: "I will never be able to sell my home" and buyers are thinking: "I will never be able to get a loan in this market". In this case, it could be perception is your reality.

Despite the constant barrage of negative Real Estate news, keep your head up. Look at it in a more positive light. After 14 years experience in Real Estate, I have seen all the ups and downs of the market and still succeeded in helping my clients buy or sell without losing. I make it a win - win situation.

Here's some positive information: Mortgage applications are up!

The thought that homes aren't selling is just not true. So take heart, you will be able to sell your home. You will need to understand that you have to price it right. You CAN NOT say "let put it on the market for XYZ and if we don't get a lot of interest, we can lower the price". This is the kiss of death

Like most Realtors, I want to list your home! That's what I'm here for and that's how I get paid. BUT, I have had to turn down a listing or two because the sellers had unreal expectations. Make sure you find a Realtor who will tell it to you straight, lumps and all.

Anyone can be a yes man and that is robbing you of precious time and money! Lets move on to buyers. YES, you can get financed. Just because lenders have tightened there belts on loans doesn't mean you can get one! Like I mentioned earlier, Mortgage applications are up and the rates have been slashed. Now is the time to buy a home!
Sellers are competing for your business.

You no longer have to settle. Regardless of all the negative information floating around, there is always a silver lining. In this case, seller can sell and buyers can buy. Don't let the reports frighten you from your dream of owning a home or upgrading to a bigger home.I have to reiterate... find an experienced Realtor who will shoot straight.

Call or e mail me and I will tell you what your home is worth, how much we should list it for AND what improvements (if any) need to be made in order to make your home shine!

Don't listen to the Realtor who says "I've done this and I've done that", things are different in the market now, you need to hear "I will do this and I will do that". Find a Realtor who's been in the business longer than a few years. Most new Realtors have not had experience in a down market.

Realtors: Rae Catanese Shatto and Michelle Jordan, Prudential Tropical Realty, South Tampa View our website at http://www.tampabaydwellings.com/

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Kenneth D. Cornelius
Area Manager
Wells Fargo Home Mortgage

Your question- Why are appraisers looking at listings-When they are talking about listings - this means you can buy the same model or unit in the same area or building for a price that is equal to the appraised value of the subject property-- this needs more detail

In an open market a house will only sell for as high as its demand price
this is true for an appraisal too

Condo for sale - 3 bed 2 bath built in 2004 and is 2000 sqft on the 7th floor is listed for 300K

the subject is the same model on the 3rd floor it will appraise at 300k or likely less- because of the lower floor
(Question does the buyer know about the condo on the 7th floor- probably not)
Does this transaction have well informed buyers and sellers? if it is a condo it does not........this is why we are having problems in our Fl condo market with appraisals - Realtors are not showing buyers all the units for sale in the building but appraisers see all of them

From a buyers/consumers point of view why would I pay more for a home that is exactly the same as a listing with a lower price - you wouldn't

Listing are driving the market price....... 2 years ago properties were increasing in value- people were overpaying and there were bidding wars for homes ...... the appraisals were going up beyond the list price so the sold comps were driving the market......... life was good

now you have 10 sales/comps all the same house no differences -same area
310K sold in June
308K sold in June
306K sold in July
306K sold in July
305K sold in July
305K sold in Aug
305K sold in Sept
302K sold in Sept
301K sold in Aug
300K sold in Sept

15 listings same model between 310 to 295 and they are going to sell below the list price in a buyers market, but the 295 will sell first

this is the type of DATA appraiser are looking at

2 years ago you would appraise the house 307K to 310K prices were stable or going up
Now if you can buy the same home for 295 why would you not

An appraiser brings this appraisal in at 303K because of the last couple months sales/comps HMC asks why is the not worth 310K appraisers are looking at listings and next month it could be apprised at 300K....... remember the 295 Listing

This is the start of a declining market 310K to 300K is only a 3 % adjustment over 3 months (not a big deal just an adjustment period) but IF this is continuing to happen for each quarter and you will have a declining market

Appraiser has to consider what a buyer would pay for this home in an open market with well informed buyers and sellers thus listings must be looked at in today's market

this was long but there is no easy way to explain this

Jeff Huffman
Area Appraisal Manager

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Lower Fed Rate Means Opportunities on the Rise

Lower Fed Rate Means Opportunities on the Rise

For the first time in more than four years, the Federal Reserve cut its Fed Funds Rate, which directly impacts millions of American borrowers. And while this important decision has many implications, there’s still some debate among experts about what this means to the economy as a whole.

The Federal Reserve meets again in six weeks, and no one is certain how market volatility and inflation concerns will affect their future policy and decision-making. Bottom line: Take advantage of this opportunity while you still can. Call me right away.

If you’re looking to capture a lower interest rate for refinancing or buying a home, this could be your best opportunity to do so. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage, while this rate cut might help to improve your situation, now is the time to refinance into a fixed-rate loan.

If you have a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) or credit cards tied to the Prime Rate, the Fed’s cut in the Fed Funds Rate just put a little money in your pocket.

Borrowers waiting for a lower fixed-rate mortgage may be waiting for a long time. The chart below clearly shows how Fed Funds Rate cuts do not translate into cuts in fixed-rate mortgages. In January 2001, the Fed Funds Rate was at 6% and 30-year fixed rates averaged 7.03%. By December 2001, following 4.25% in cuts throughout the year, home loan rates were actually up to 7.07%.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Making sense out of the Superexemtion Tax Amendment-Tampa, Fl

Seller Opens House For Superexemption Rally
Published: Sep 18, 2007

TAMPA - Since Veronica Greco put her North Hyde Park bungalow on the market, she has held three open houses - with barely a peep from potential buyers or agents.

"Maybe five people came," she said. "At the one this past Saturday, nobody showed up."
What a difference a political campaign makes. More than 50 people, including wall-to-wall real estate agents and Gov. Charlie Crist, packed Greco's small living room Friday. Most came to promote a constitutional amendment that would allow homeowners to take a homestead superexemption - which the real estate industry hopes will kick-start a sluggish market.

Greco's fruitless efforts to downsize to a condo were a prime part of their pitch.
She said the Florida Association of Realtors e-mailed her, asking to use her home f
or the news conference after they took a survey of homes for sale in the area, looking for one that had been owned for a while and near the sales-price range: "I thought it was somebody playing a mean joke."

Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, leads "Yes on 1 - Save Our Homes Now," a group pushing for passage of the Jan. 29 ballot amendment. The group unfurled its banner across Greco's living room.

"This is an opportunity for homebuyers, future homebuyers and those who live in their homes like Miss Greco, who, of course, has this home for sale, but she's locked in because she can't find anyone who can afford the taxes on this home," Fasano said.
Greco's property tax bill last year was $671. It's been shielded from big increases for more than a decade by another constitutional amendment, Save Our Homes, that limits increases in assessed value to a maximum of 3 percent per year.

But the Save Our Homes protection resets once a home is sold. The new owner's tax bill is based on an updated assessment tied to market value. Greco's asking price for her home: $234,900. If sold and assessed at that value, taxes would be more than $4,000. "That's almost $400 a month additional expenses," Greco said after the news conference. Prospective buyers told her "they can't afford to get the mortgage, because they can't qualify for that amount of money."

Nancy Riley, president of the Florida Association of Realtors, said the constitutional amendment would save Greco's homebuy
er far more than the current $25,000 exemption for owner-occupied homes.

"Under the new super homestead, they would get an exemption of over $155,000 and pay taxes on less than $80,000," Riley said. "This is a buyers' market and with this super homestead exemption, it becomes better than ever for our first-time homebuyers and those who want desperately to move."

It's Superexemption Or Save Our Homes
But there's a catch. Those who choose to get the homestead superexemption would give up the protection of the Save Our Homes amendment. So although more of a home's value is tax-exempt, its assessed value would increase with market values.
If the amendment passes, homeowners would have a choice: Save Our Homes protection or superexemption. Not both.

The unpredictability of such a change has local governments concerned, said John Thomas, director of policy and political affairs for the Florida League of Cities.
"It's still very much an unknown," Thomas said. "I would challenge anyone to tell me what the fiscal impact is going to be - not just for each individual homeowner but each individual unit of government or city or for our state generally. How many people are going to choose homestead [superexemption] versus Save Our Homes?"

Polls Show Tax Break May Not Happen
Recent polls have shown that the number of voters who support the amendment may not be enough to make the superexemption a reality. It takes a 60 percent vote to change the state constitution, but the polls show support is slightly less than that - 57 or 58 percent. Most who are wary are longtime homeowners who plan to stay in their homes. They've run the calculations and found they're better off with the Save Our Homes protection.

Crist said the plan is one that can make everybody happy: "That's the beauty of what the Legislature did. You can have Save Our Homes [or] you can have a super tax exemption on your property taxes … I think we have a duty to talk more about what good this will do for the people of Florida. I'm going to work like crazy to make sure people know: they have the power to cut their property taxes yet again."

As for Greco, she hopes the amendment will make it easier for someone to buy her bungalow so she can move into a maintenance-free condo. For the short term, however, the 59-year-old won the gratitude of more than a dozen local Realtors.

"Thank you," one told her as he left her house. "If I find a buyer for your house, I'll bring him for sure."

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Friday, September 14, 2007

August 2007 Tampa Bay area home sales

August numbers out for Tampa Bay area home sales
Times business reporter James Thorner

Ahead of the release dates of the national and state real estate groups, house and condo sales for Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco counties for the month that just ended are now public, courtesy of the Pinellas Realtors Organization.

The news is mixed, though it's more glum than giddy.
The good news is that Tampa Bay area inventory - the number of homes for sale on the market - is the lowest it's been this year.

The bad news is that sales in August were off big time over sales in August 2006. Only Pasco County showed a sales increase (and that's just month to month) from July to August of this year.

Total sales for August 2007 in Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties were 2,374. Listings totalled 40,896.

Now is a great time to buy! Call us at 813-784-7744 to receive a list of homes, or visit our website at http://www.tampabaydwellings.com/ to search all homes in the Tampa Bay Area.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Things to know before you sell a home in today's Real Estate Market-Tampa,Fl

Key Tips for Selling your Home

Home values will stay stagnant or potentially decrease.

Qualified borrowers are looking for deals.

Fewer borrowers are qualifying for home loans.

Rising foreclosures tend to negatively affect home values.

Increased “days on the market” (DOMs) increases the likelihood that buyers will aggressively negotiate prices down.

Continued stress in the financial markets will affect consumer confidence.

Loans may take longer to close.

Appraisals are becoming more difficult to obtain.

Properties should be funded before contract contingencies are removed.

It’s critical to encourage to price homes to sell -- and sell quickly -- decreasing the need for price reductions.

If you are considering putting your home on the market and would like to speak with a
Real Estate Agent, please call Michelle Jordan 813-695-5677, Realtor-Prudential Tropical Realtly

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

New director to help Riverwalk raise funds

New director to help Riverwalk raise funds
By JANET ZINK, Times Staff WriterPublished September 5, 2007

TAMPA - The Riverwalk, one of Mayor Pam Iorio's top priorities, now has some full-time fundraising help.

The not-for-profit Friends of the Riverwalk last week hired Alex Petrilak as its executive director.

Petrilak, 53, will head a $24-million capital campaign to support construction of the 2.2-mile linear park along the Hillsborough River through downtown Tampa.

Iorio hopes to cover the rest of the construction costs, about $16-million, with taxpayer dollars from local, state and federal sources.

Petrilak, president of the consulting firm Marketing Systems Management Inc., formerly worked as director of real estate and international trade for the Tampa Port Authority. In that role, he helped promote the Channelside retail and entertainment complex.

He'll earn $110,000 a year in his new post. His salary is being paid by the private Friends of the Riverwalk group, not with public money. "The biggest challenge will be to get the private sector to step up," he said. "The pitch is already in place. It's an economic development opportunity, community-building opportunity and will create jobs."

Petrilak said he comes into the job about one-third of the way towards his goal. Developers of The Heights just north of downtown have pledged to build one mile of the Riverwalk, a contribution worth nearly $4-million.

Cash donors include Sandy MacKinnon, CEO of Yale Industrial Trucks, who has committed $250,000; and SunTrust Bank, which has promised $250,000.
Petrilak said one of his first steps to promote the Riverwalk will be to plan events at segments that have been completed, such as performances on a mobile stage or outdoor movies, to show that the park will be a destination for bay area residents and tourists.

"We're open for business" he said.

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